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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Scary Movie 4 (review)

People Are Morons

Have I mentioned that people are morons? The only explanation for the terrifying success of the Scary Movies is this: People are morons. When audiences flock to movies about farts, explosive defecation, bodily abuse of little kids and elderly people and defenseless animals, and — for that touch of topical crassness — homophobia, they demonstrate that they are tiny terrified children who never got over the horror of discovering that their bodies produce certain fluids, that they never developed the kind of conscience that allows them to empathize with those suffering pain, and that they still suffer from the ewwwwws that come with learning about sex on the playground from your best friend’s older brother when you’re in second grade.
Scary Movie 4 is, par for the course of this franchise, what you’d expect to come out of an alternative universe in which Hollywood is run by three-year-olds for three-year-olds. Under the guise of “parody” that does not even approach the manic juvenile idiocy of Mad Magazine, here we have a perverse patchwork of references, “homages,” and outright thefts filched from a slew of recent, far better films — everything from Saw and Spielberg’s War of the Worlds to Million Dollar Baby(!) and Shyamalan’s The Village, which while its own unintentional parody was still infinitely superior to this festering mass of cinematic corruption. Shyamalan was at least attempting something more than metaphorically throwing a bucket of week-old feces at his audience or — in one of the most asinine and obtuse moments in Scary Movie 4 — offering up a sacrificial “Middle Eastern terrorist” for random characters onscreen to beat to a pulp in order to rile up the viewer’s basest instincts.

No: this is just playground-sandbox-level “mine, mine, mine!” as if grabbing toys from another kid and running away with them was somehow worthy of anyone’s notice, except perhaps from Mommy as she dispenses a quick swat to your bottom for being such an insufferable little monster. In a mashup of War of the Worlds and The Grudge that is even more unfunny that such a scenario might suggest, returning simpleton Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris: holy fuck, she was in Brokeback Mountain? why don’t I remember her?), as the sorta Sarah Michelle Geller character in The Grudge, falls instantly in love with Craig Bierko’s (Cinderella Man) Tom Ryan, who is almost precisely Tom Cruise in WOTW. (The only thing good I can say about SM4 is that the alien tripods look almost as good as Spielberg’s, and at likely 1/100th the cost.) The begrudged Japanese house and the Joisey dwelling of Tom Cruise, er, Ryan are right next door to each other, and so–

But I’m trying to explain this as if there’s a semblance of coherence here. There isn’t. The stuff “sampled” from other films is “satirized” by the addition of pee-pee and poopie, boobies and boogers… you know, the kind of stuff that is hi-freakin’-larious when you’re still in the midst of potty training. What it’s doing in a movie aimed at those supposedly past this important but very early stage of life is a mystery. Why is the film rated PG-13? It is suitable only for those under 3. And that only if parents are willing to allow their toddlers to wallow in the toilet humor that so delights them, instead of teaching them to be decent, civilized human beings, as I always understood the role of parenting to be.

Why must Hollywood torment so those of us with IQs in the triple digits?

Look, Scary Movie 4 is the kind of movie that proves that the people in charge in Hollywood hold us, the moviegoing audience, in nothing but contempt. They’re not stupid — they’re most emphatically not an unruly gang of poopy-groovin’ three-year-olds, and they most definitely do not find ka-ka funny. But they think you do. And when you spend 10 freakin’ bucks to go see this garbage, you are telling them that they are right to treat you with such disdain.

Do you honestly want to be known as someone who is known to frequent movies in which the likes of Charlie Sheen, Carmen Electra, Michael Madsen, and Dr. Phil appear? We already know these people have no shame — are you willing to throw your lot in with them? Have you no shame? (I’m pretending to forget that Bill Pullman appears in this nightmare. I need to believe that some few people in Hollywood can maintain a sense of dignity, and apparently the only way I can do that at this moment is through abject denial. Also: David Zucker? Is he now a pod person or something? How could the man who gave us the brilliant, and brilliantly funny, Airplane! and Police Squad! have come to this?)

I don’t know why I’m bothering. Scary Movie 4 is gonna be huge. Because people are morons.

MPAA: rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor throughout, some comic violence and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb

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